Weatherby Swann

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Weatherby Swann
Pirates of the Caribbean character
Portrayed byJonathan Pryce
OccupationGovernor of Port Royal
FamilyElizabeth Swann (daughter)
William Turner (son-in-law)
Henry Turner (grandson)
Mrs. Swann (wife)
Appearance(s)The Curse of the Black Pearl
Dead Man's Chest
At World's End

Governor Weatherby Swann, portrayed by actor Jonathan Pryce[1], is the fictional governor of Port Royal in Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean films: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Dead Man's Chest (2006), and At World's End (2007). Swann is the father of Elizabeth Swann, played by Keira Knightley. In contrast to his strong-willed daughter, he is something of a milquetoast. Swann is a doting father, and he wishes for his daughter to accept Commodore Norrington's marriage proposal. However, he eventually comes to accept that she truly loves Will Turner. According to the Pirates of the Caribbean Visual Guide, Elizabeth's mother died when Elizabeth was a young child.

Character history[edit]

According to the Pirates 1 DVD commentary, in earlier drafts of the script, Swann was a relatively minor character and did not accompany Commodore Norrington in the search for Elizabeth. The character's role was expanded when it was realized there were no principal characters present during the final battle between the Royal Navy crewman and the pirates aboard H.M.S. Dauntless.

Fictional biography[edit]

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl[edit]

Weatherby Swann is the father of Elizabeth Swann. He first appears on the Dauntless on the crossing to Port Royal from England, eight years before the main action of the films. After a boy (Will Turner) is rescued from a shipwreck, he tells Elizabeth to watch over him. Eight years later, Weatherby is present when Captain Norrington is promoted to Commodore. The morning after Elizabeth is kidnapped, Weatherby discusses plans to save her with Norrington and other officers.

When Elizabeth and Jack board the Dauntless, Weatherby and Norrington are planning to return to Port Royal and leave Will to die. When the ambush of Barbossa's crew on the Isla de Muerta goes awry and the pirates board the Dauntless, Weatherby hides in the captain's cabin. As the battle rages on outside, one of the cursed pirates spots Weatherby, and several pirates try to break through the glass door to the cabins. Weatherby slices an arm off of a cursed pirate and subsequently battles with the severed hand. Once the curse is lifted, Weatherby comes out from his hiding spot and cheers with the rest of the marines. At the attempted hanging of Jack Sparrow, it is revealed that he granted clemency to Will Turner for his prior actions. He accepts his daughter's decision to marry Will Turner.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest[edit]

Elizabeth and Will are arrested for helping Captain Jack Sparrow escape, while Weatherby observes. When Will is hired by Beckett to find Sparrow's compass, Weatherby frees Elizabeth from her cell. He tells her she must flee to England or be hanged. He tells her to stay put while he talks to the captain. The captain is murdered by Mr. Mercer under the orders of Cutler Beckett. Weatherby is then arrested.

Weatherby is brought before Beckett. He is told that Elizabeth and Norrington have been seen in Tortuga. Beckett tells Weatherby that his ships are in pursuit of Elizabeth and everyone on the Black Pearl. Beckett agrees to let Weatherby go and ensure that Elizabeth is not harmed. In return, Weatherby must contribute his influence in London, his authority as Governor, and his loyalty to the East India Trading Company. Weatherby agrees and is then released from his shackles.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End[edit]

Weatherby is first seen signing papers for Beckett, including an order for an execution, as he has been taken to the South China Sea on Beckett's ship, the Endeavour. As Weatherby is sent to the Flying Dutchman with James Norrington, Beckett comments to Mercer that Weatherby has outlived his usefulness. Furthermore, with knowledge of Davy Jones' heart, Weatherby could be a serious threat to Beckett's plans. Mercer murders Weatherby off-screen.

Weatherby is later seen in limbo, along with the souls of other people who have died at sea. Weatherby is able to speak with his daughter one last time. Weatherby explains that the Flying Dutchman must always have a captain, and that the person who kills Davy Jones must take his place. Elizabeth tries to persuade her father to board the Black Pearl and return with her, but Weatherby refuses. He tells Elizabeth that he is proud of her and promises to give her love to her deceased mother. The two go their separate ways, the Black Pearl to the land of the living, and Weatherby and the other souls drifting to the afterlife. Will asks Tia Dalma if she can bring Weatherby back from the dead, but Tia Dalma explains that she cannot because Weatherby has already made his peace in death.

The children's novel version of the work contains a scene not in the film, wherein the reader is made privy to how Weatherby learns the full lore of Davy Jones' heart. Weatherby talks to Davy Jones, who tells him that Elizabeth is dead, killed by the Kraken. A distraught Weatherby goes to the heart, guarded by Norrington, and is about to stab it before Davy Jones reveals that his curse will be passed on to whoever destroys his heart. Weatherby, not wanting to end up like Davy Jones, agonizingly decides to not stab the heart, but informs Beckett that, with Elizabeth dead, their association has ended (leading Beckett to decide to kill Swann later on). This scene was scripted and filmed, but deleted from the final cut.


Weatherby, presumably raised in England, firmly believes that English tradition, customs, and ideals should be upheld by its citizens, regardless of their location in the British Empire. Weatherby comments about the propriety of English women when his daughter, Elizabeth Swann, mentions to Will Turner that she dreamed about him the night before. As a sign of his office, he wears a large periwig, in contrast to the smaller, more fashionable wigs worn by other characters.

Weatherby is deeply devoted to his daughter, risking his position as colonial governor in order to help her escape from captivity in the second film. Later, when his daughter's safety is threatened, he begrudgingly agrees to help the East India Trading Company in the hopes that she will be protected. His love for Elizabeth is therefore more important to him than his social standing or his sense of honor and duty.

He does not consider Will Turner a suitable match for his daughter, but he has apparently consented to the marriage and forms a cordial relationship with his future son-in-law. Nonetheless, Weatherby's actions in the second film make it clear that he would willingly sacrifice Will to ensure Elizabeth's well-being.


  1. ^ "Jonathan Pryce - IMDb". IMDb. Retrieved 27 March 2018.

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